ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

Retrograde condensation

Retrograde condensation is like when you have a cold drink on a hot day and drops of water start appearing on the outside of the cup. It happens when a gas cools down and turns into a liquid even though it shouldn't normally do so.

Let's imagine you have a cooler that's filled with ice and drinks. When the temperature inside the cooler drops, the water vapor in the air can turn into droplets of water. This is what happens with retrograde condensation.

Basically, when gas is at a really high pressure and has a lot of heat, it behaves like a gas and stays that way. But, when it cools down, it can turn into a liquid by going through a process called retrograde condensation.

Imagine playing with bubbles and blowing them up. When you blow air into a bubble, it gets really big and you can see through it. Now imagine that when the bubble starts to shrink instead of popping, it turns back into liquid. This is sort of what happens with retrograde condensation when gases cool down and turn into liquids.

Scientists use retrograde condensation to study things like the formation of planets and stars. When molecules condense, they can stick together and form larger particles. This can help scientists understand how different celestial bodies form and evolve over time.